Snow Water Equivalent Calculator – Convert Snow to Water Volume
Calculate the equivalent water volume for snow pack for an area by entering the dimensions of the area and depth of the snow.
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How to Calculate the Equivalent Volume of Water for Snow
Snow water equivalent (SWE) is a measure of the volume of water contained in snow over an area. Calculate the water volume of snow using these easy steps.
Step One: Calculate the Volume of Snow
The first step is to estimate the volume of snow, which can be done by multiplying the length and width in feet to find the area, and then multiplying by the depth of the snow in feet. This is the volume in cubic feet.
If necessary, all measurements can be made in inches. Multiplying them together will give you the cubic inches of snow. Convert this to cubic feet by dividing the total number of cubic inches by 1728.
You can also use a volume calculator for this task. Find the depth of snow using a ruler or stick to see how deep the snow is.
Step Two: Estimate the Snow Density
In order to find how much water is contained in the snow, its density needs to be estimated. Snow varies in density depending on temperature and water content. Snow can contain different amounts of water depending on its form, ranging from fresh powder to solid ice.
- Freshly fallen powder generally has a density of 3.12 to 4.37 pounds per cubic foot or 100 to 200 Kilograms per cubic meter.
- Settled snow has a density of 10 to 20 pounds per cubic foot or 200 to 300 kilograms per cubic meter.
- Wind-packed snow has a density of 21.85 to 24.97 pounds per cubic foot or 350 to 400 kilograms per cubic meter.
- Wet snow has a density of 24.97 to 51.82 pounds per cubic foot or 700 to 800 kilograms per cubic meter.
- Ice has a density of around 57 pounds per cubic foot or 830 to 917 kilograms per cubic meter.
Step Three: Calculate the Snow Weight
Next, calculate the snow weight by multiplying the volume in cubic feet by the density in pounds per cubic foot. The result will be the total weight. Try our snow weight calculator to estimate the snow weight.
Step Four: Solve the Water Volume
Armed with the weight of the snow, it’s possible to estimate its water volume. The volume of water is right around 0.11985 gallons per pound, though it varies based on the temperature. To estimate the volume of water in gallons, simply multiply the total weight of the snow by 0.11985.
For example, freshly fallen snow that is 12 inches deep covering an area of 200 square feet will have 200 cubic feet of volume and a density of roughly 4 pounds per cubic foot. This makes the total weight of the snow 800 pounds and the volume of water 95.88 gallons.
You might also be interested in our water weight calculator.